Derek Moye already plays wide receiver and cornerback.
But he could play running back, quarterback, kicker, lineman, long snapper or tight end.
About the only thing senior Derek Moye can’t do for Rochester is coach.
“He is so versatile and can pretty much play anywhere,” Rochester coach Gene Matsook said. “Derek also is elusive. When you look at him, you might not think so with his size. But, along with speed, he also can jump. He has many of those intangibles that coaches love.”
Moye, a 6-foot-5, 192-pound three-year starter, was a unanimous first-team all-conference selection on offense and defense. He is a Division I prospect, who has narrowed his college choices to Boston College, Maryland, Penn State and Pitt.
Matsook said Moye was one of the three top players he had coached and that Moye had the credentials to support that contention. Moye returns as the WPIAL’s scoring leader from last season with 27 touchdowns overall — rushing for 1,131 yards and 17 touchdowns on 138 carries and catching 24 passes for nine touchdowns and 536 yards.
“Derek is the kind of player who makes everyone around him better,” said Rochester senior quarterback Danny Camp (6-1, 180), who completed 47-of-100 passes for 15 touchdowns and 944 yards last year. “He brings everyone to the next level. If I throw a pass anywhere near him, he will find it. There are a lot of players on this team who look up to him.”
One of those players is Ryan Zarnich, a 6-4 222-pound tight end. Zarnich said he doesn’t mind blocking to give Camp the time he needs to find Moye — the Big 7 Conference MVP and a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 25 selection.
“Derek is the best,” Zarnich said. “He is our leader.”
Moye plays basketball, baseball and also is a WPIAL Class AA track champion in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter runs. He spent the offseason working on his upper-body strength.
Moye and Zarnich have older brothers — Jermaine Moye and Nick Zarnich — who played on state championship teams, so they know about the expectations at Rochester.
“We want to make this a special year,” Zarnich said. “This is our senior year, and we want a WPIAL and state championship. Our brothers remind us about not having won a state championship. We want to get at least one before we graduate.
“We have won one WPIAL title, but we want a state title, too. With players like Derek and Danny, who have a lot of experience, and combined with the rest of the team that we have, and our coaching staff, we can go a long way.”
Rochester’s goal is to get back to the WPIAL championship game and avenge a loss to Duquesne. The Rams have the experience to approach that goal, with seven players returning on offense and defense, including Moye, Camp and Zarnich.
“These three are the nucleus which we are building this year’s team around,” Matsook said. “They have experience and the leadership to help us continue to carry on the tradition of Rochester football.”
About the Rams
Playmakers: Running back Reon Hunter rushed for 558 yards and eight touchdowns on 119 carries, while Aaron Jackson added 482 yards rushing on 100 carries and eight touchdowns last season. Senior quarterback Danny Camp completed 47 of 100 passes for 15 touchdowns and 944 yards last season.
Defense: Rochester, ranked No. 2 in Class A by the Pennsylvania Football News preseason rankings, allowed an average of 160.4 yards per game last season — fourth-best in the WPIAL.
In the trenches: For a Class A school, Rochester is not small when it comes to the size of its line. The Rams will be anchored by senior tackle Fred McWhorter (6-foot-2, 270 pounds) and junior tackle Ryan Beatrice Jr. (6-2, 290).
Return game: Derek Moye will handle kickoff and punt returns. Last season, Moye returned 10 punts for 229 yards and one touchdown.Reon Hunter will handle the punting duties.
From the sidelines: This is Gene Matsook’s seventh season as head coach. Under his guidance, the Rams have been to five of the past six WPIAL championship games and four of the past six PIAA title games.
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